Sunday Long Reads: The Republican pursuit for legal discrimination; Super Mario's success & the legacy of Dixie Dean

Waiting on Christmas dinner? Enjoy the best long reads from Newstalk to fill the time

Christmas week was predictably busy in Newstalk Towers and beyond.

In our Christmas weekend long reads, we celebrate one of the most beloved video game characters as he attempts to tackle mobile gaming.

Across the pond, Republican senators are gearing up to push The First Amendment Defence Act through congress in the new year - an act which will make the discrimination of LGBTQ people legal on religious grounds. 

Aidan Mannion reflects on "the happiest time of his life" at Sligo Rovers and why Malky Mackay's appointment remains a questionable choice within the world of Scottish football.

A new US amendment could make it legal to discriminate against LGBTQ people

US Senators say an amendment allowing the discrimination of LGBTQ people on religious grounds is likely to pass under President-elect Donald Trump.

Senator Ted Cruz told Buzzfeed News earlier this month that The First Amendment Defence Act (FADA) will go through the Republican-controlled House with Trump's backing.

FADA will prohibit the federal government from taking "discriminatory action" against any business or person that discriminates against LGBTQ people. Entities will be able to deny services to LGBT people based on two sets of beliefs: "marriage is or should be recognized as the union of one man and one woman", or "sexual relations are properly reserved to such a marriage."

How 'Super Mario Run' soars by resisting the temptation to go 'freemium'

Super Mario Run - possibly the most eagerly anticipated mobile game ever - was released on iOS last week to great fanfare and a surprising amount of controversy.

The game itself has generally been praised. Critically it’s been a success, and it’s easy to see why. While few players will be mistaking it for a full-scale console quality Mario, it definitely boasts that unmistakable Nintendo quality. The mechanics are satisfying, polished and hide a surprising amount of depth. It is perfectly judged for the smartphone format - Nintendo’s peerless designers do some wonderfully witty and imaginative things with the vertically orientated screen, for example.

Why Malky Mackay's appointment proves Scottish football remains stuck in the dark ages

Malky Mackay grossly misjudged the mood of the room.

Upon being asked whether he had any skeletons still to emerge from the closet, the Scottish FA’s newly appointed performance director made an ill-judged quip about a reporter’s tie. Nobody laughed. There was, after all, very little to laugh about.

As appointments go, Mackay’s last week was about as controversial as they come ...

When the legendary Dixie Dean lined out for Sligo Rovers in his "happiest time" in football

The type of goal-scoring stats Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo have been producing is something we already cherish.

But it's only when the duo retire that we will fully appreciate what we have witnessing from both of them.

If you take their careers as a whole, they are pretty much in the goal a game rate.

Dixie Dean scored at a similar rate - albeit in a vastly different era - during a legendary career for Everton between 1925 and 1937.

The former England footballer, who scored 18 goals in just 16 caps and has a statue outside Goodison Park, had such an impact in the pre-World War II period that he is still talked about in exalted tones 80-90 years on.

Yet many may not know that Dean, who passed away in 1980 at the age of 73, also played in the League of Ireland.